Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find the answers to the most common questions about our program. If you need an answer to something that isn’t listed below, please email your question to healthadmin@vcu.edu.

If you really want to work in the health care service delivery industry, a master’s degree in health administration provides knowledge you need, and develops skills necessary for a leadership role in organization, financing, marketing, planning and management of health care services. 

The advantages of a traditional Master of Health Administration (MHA) program and a distance learning Professional Master of Science in Health Administration (MSHA) program – online degree include:

  • A core curriculum of business management coursework with health care content throughout, rather than just a few elective courses specific to healthcare, as is typical in MBA programs; and
  • The opportunity to apply health care focused knowledge immediately, recognizing that health care services are unique, for the treatment of persons often experiencing one of the most difficult situations in their lives.

Distinctive features of management positions in health care include:

  • Legal, regulatory, and reimbursement intricacies of, and differences between, for-profit, not-for-profit and government subsidized health care;
  • The core business of patient care, and how quality health care services are  conceptualized and measured;
  • The moral basis inherent in the delivery and support of health care services; and
  • Practice settings dominated by clinical professionals.

Application Process

All applications for the MHA program must be submitted via HAMPCAS, the national centralized application service that allows candidates to apply to health management programs across different colleges and universities throughout the U.S by way of a single, web-based application.

COVID-19 APPLICATION UPDATE: We understand that many undergraduate institutions have been greatly impacted by COVID-19 and that applicants may experience a delay in submission of transcripts or letters of recommendation to complete their applications. We also understand that applicants may not have access to GRE testing sites during this time. As a result, we have extended our application deadline to April 1st and are temporarily waiving our GRE requirement.

  • Complete application form
  • Application fee
  • Personal statement
  • 3 letters of reference
  • Resume
  • Official transcript
  • GRE or GMAT scores

Once this information is received via HAMPCAS, your application will be reviewed to determine if it meets criteria approved by the admissions committee. If your application warrants, an on-site interview will be required.

To be a dual degree student, you must be accepted to both programs. However, you can apply to the law school during your first year of the MHA program. Typically, MHA/MD students complete the first three years of medical school before applying to the MHA program.

Yes. We want to get to know you and your motivation for a career as a healthcare executive. Also, it is a time for you to see if you like what we have to offer. Graduate education is an investment in your future and we want to make sure our program is a good fit.

2020-2021 COVID-19 UPDATE: Due to the University's continuing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all admissions interviews are being conducted virtually via Zoom for students entering Fall 2021. 

Admissions

We have a rolling admissions process. This means that we begin reviewing applications as soon as they are deemed complete. The first interview days are held in November of each year and continue until the class is full.

Orientation for new students is held during the third week of August of each year. Classes begin on Monday of the following week.

For the 2021 admissions cycle, the Department of Health Administration has elected to suspend our previous requirement that incoming students complete Financial Accounting, Microeconomics, and Statistics prerequisite courses before matriculating into the program. Students enrolling in either the MHA or MSHA programs for Fall 2021 will complete alternative prerequisite modules selected and provided by the Department.  Details will be communicated directly to admitted students upon their acceptance of our offer of admission.

For the 2021 admissions cycle, the Department of Health Administration has elected to suspend our previous requirement that incoming students complete Financial Accounting, Microeconomics, and Statistics prerequisite courses before matriculating into the program. Students enrolling in either the MHA or MSHA programs for Fall 2021 will complete alternative prerequisite modules selected and provided by the Department. Details will be communicated directly to admitted students upon their acceptance of our offer of admission.

For the 2021 admissions cycle, the Department of Health Administration has elected to suspend our previous requirement that incoming students complete Financial Accounting, Microeconomics, and Statistics prerequisite courses before matriculating into the program. Students enrolling in either the MHA or MSHA programs for Fall 2021 will complete alternative prerequisite modules selected and provided by the Department. Details will be communicated directly to admitted students upon their acceptance of our offer of admission.

Tuition & Financial Aid

Click here for information about VCU tuition and fees. Follow the link to use a tuition estimate calculator tool. 

Yes, the Department awards scholarships to students based on financial need, academic merit, and leadership. Decisions are communicated to students in August. There are no applications to submit for department awards and they are separate from FAFSA and any scholarships affiliated with the VCU Financial Aid Office. Your acceptance into the program automatically adds your name to the recipient list.

Once you are admitted to the program, you will receive information from the VCU Financial Aid Office. You must complete the FAFSA application as well as VCU-specific information. Students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA online by March 1.

Yes, part-time jobs are available in the Department of Health Administration, within VCU, or at other sites in the Richmond community. You are encouraged to apply for work study approval within VCU.

This will vary depending on the semester, how well you acclimate to graduate study, and community and group projects outside the classroom. For the first semester, many students choose to work no more than 10-15 hours per week, until they feel settled enough to take on more hours.

Curriculum

We have dual degree programs with the University of Richmond School of Law, The Washington & Lee University School of Law, and the VCU School of Medicine.

We require 51 semester-hours of credits. In addition, we require a 10-month administrative residency in which 8 credit hours of administrative practice must be taken, for a total of 59 credit hours.

Yes, we require one 3-hour elective. These may be taken in other departments at VCU. However, the Department of Health Administration offers Physician Practice Management, Managing Human Capital, Long Term Care Administration, and Advanced Medical Informatics.

The MHA Program is more appropriate for full-time study. Classes are offered during the daytime. There are no summer school classes in this program. For mid-careerists seeking a part-time or online option, the MSHA program is a great alternative to the full-time, in-person option.

Many programs require a summer internship between the first and second year. Since we provide a required, 10-month paid administrative residency, we do not also require an internship. However, many of our students elect to work in health care management-related jobs in the summer between the first and second year. Our expansive alumni network is a valuable networking resource for students seeking health care management roles during the summer break. 

International students should contact the department directly at healthadmin@vcu.edu regarding the administrative residency requirement prior to applying.

We use a customized process for your ongoing learning needs based on a Professional Development Plan and individualized attention in the Executive Skills courses. The Program Director provides a wide selection of residency sites for which students interview. Representatives from the sites visit VCU and conduct information sessions with 2nd year students early in the Fall semester. Mid-Fall, 2nd years interview with a selection of site representatives, and matches are typically announced in November.

Student Life & Housing

Yes. Once you have been offered an interview, a current student will be assigned to you as a program ambassador.

The student will contact you to answer any questions about the admissions process and student life issues. In addition, during your interview day, you will be invited to participate in a student-only Q&A panel on student life and program activities.

Most students secure housing off-campus, although University housing is available on the MCV Campus. Materials on housing opportunities will be distributed during your interview day.

Career Development & Job Placement

During the two years on-campus, there are many opportunities for alumni and other healthcare executives to interact with students: in the classroom, field assignments, student chapters of ACHE, HFMA, and MGMA, and during several functions that are hosted annually by the Department.

Professional development planning is a focus throughout the program curriculum. Two courses in Executive Skills and one-on-one meetings with advisors and the Program Director aid in determining a good fit for residency, and the first job after graduation.

Students are assigned alumni mentors who volunteer to connect with students to participate in quarterly check-ins, networking, and career coaching with their assigned mentee.

Most new graduates are offered positions in the organization where they completed their residency. Typical job titles are:

  • Planning or Marketing Analyst
  • Financial Analyst
  • Director or Manager of Special Projects
  • Administrative Manager
  • Assistant Vice President
  • Compliance Coordinator 

Recent graduates earn average salaries between $55,000 to $65,000 per year. This varies with the size of the organization, ownership status, location, cost of living in the area, and scope of duties and responsibilities.